The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed suit against Amazon.com to hold the company responsible for the defective products sold through its marketplace. The complaint pointed to several defective items sold by third-party sellers, which included 24,000 faulty carbon monoxide detectors, 400,000 hair dryers, and children’s pajamas that violated federal flammability standards.
The CPSC had previously attempted to convince Amazon to follow federal regulations for removing dangerous products off its market, however the company refused to acknowledge that the agency had the authority to compel them into removing hazardous products.
According to a statement from the Buy Safe America Coalition, the CPSC suit marks the most recent instance of Amazon failing to ensure consumer protection safeguards. In May, a court order was necessary to prevent Amazon from selling counterfeit facemasks because it had relisted its own supply of the products three times after agreeing to stop. Earlier this year, the company attempted to argue it should not be held liable for defective products sold on its marketplace, following a suit involving a toddler who suffered permanent damage when she ingested a battery that popped out of a knockoff remote control.
“This lawsuit is a stark reminder to lawmakers and consumers that Amazon’s approach to marketplace transparency continues to fall short,” said Michael Hanson, Buy Safe America Coalition spokesperson. “With Amazon’s dominant position in online shopping, their actions—or lack thereof—are simply unacceptable. The e-commerce company has stood in direct opposition to the INFORM Consumers Act, which would help remove the deluge of sellers peddling unsafe merchandise.”
The Coalition is urging Congress to pass the INFORM Consumers Act, which would require e-commerce platforms to collect and verify basic business information from sellers. This bipartisan, comprehensive legislation would create greater transparency online, and make it much harder for criminals and con artists to hide behind fake screen names and bogus business accounts to sell counterfeit and hazardous products.